Appearing on Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, Watergate reporter and CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein offered his trademark hyperbolic analysis about the state of the union under President Trump. Weighing in on the emergence of a second whistle-blower pertaining to Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President, Bernstein slammed the U.S. President as “fundamentally corrupt” and “increasingly unstable.”
Responding to host Anderson Cooper’s inquiry as to whether he saw a second whistle-blower “changing anything,” Bernstein predicted that “it’s going to be…dramatic” because “he is going to have apparently firsthand knowledge of what transpired here.”
Trying as usual to convince the audience that it’s 1974 all over again, Bernstein cited the emergence of a second whistle-blower as more “considerable evidence...that we have a fundamentally corrupt President; who is a danger to the national security, has undermined our democratic system, and is also increasingly unstable.”
After contending that “many Republicans are looking at this and are aware of a good part of that equation,” Bernstein referred to Republicans’ refusal to “say it aloud” as an indication that “we’re heading in a kind of really unprecedented crisis.”
Bernstein really has to come up with some new talking points. Just last month, he painted the departure of John Bolton as President Trump’s National Security Advisor as a “dire crisis” and a sign that “the national security of the United States is not secure.”
Bernstein recycled those talking points by indicating that he agreed with “the President’s closest national security advisers” such as “Mattis, McMaster, Kelly...(and) Tillerson” that “the President of the United States is a threat to our own national security,” citing “what we saw in Turkey today” as another example of President Trump’s recklessness.
Fellow panelist and senior political analyst David Gergen agreed by adding that “in terms of people coming out who are heavyweights, it was important that Colin Powell came out and told Republicans they need to get a grip.”
Like many others in the media, Gergen apparently forgot that the former Secretary of State endorsed the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential elections; meaning that he does not exactly meet the definition of a Republican “heavyweight.”
Gergen also accused the Trump administration of deflecting the impeachment inquiry by “throwing up one argument after another to see what sticks, what works,” a phrase that would just as accurately describe the Democrats’ two-year-long strategy to impeach President Trump; with the help of the media.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of Anderson Cooper 360 is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Anderson Cooper 360
ANDERSON COOPER: More breaking news tonight. President Trump has just spoken to reporters about his call with Ukraine’s President and the existence of a second whistleblower. Jim Acosta joins us now from the White House with more. So, I know the President…
JIM ACOSTA: Yeah.
COOPER: …spoke to reporters late today. What’s his latest pushback?
ACOSTA: Yeah, Anderson, he didn’t say a whole lot about that second whistleblower. He said that he’s not concerned about it, doesn’t think it’s going to have any bearing on what’s taking place up on Capitol Hill right now. But we did hear one new line from the President earlier today; where he said that this impeachment inquiry is making it harder for him to do his job as President. That was one of the newer lines of attack, I suppose, if you want to call it that or newer lines of defense. The President went on to say that, you know, he doesn’t understand how he could be even thought of in terms of impeachment inquiries at this point when he…he says he’s doing such a good job. That, of course, is not going to work for Democrats; who are going to continue this impeachment inquiry. But, Anderson, keep in mind one of the things that we’ve been hearing from the White House and its defenders over the last few days is a couple of…couple of things. One is that the President was just joking when he was talking the other day about China investigating Joe Biden. That obviously flies in the face of when the President originally made that remark. He sounded very serious when he was talking about not only China but Ukraine investigating Joe Biden. And…and Larry Kudlow, the President’s top economic adviser, came out of the White House today and was asked about this, and said he didn’t know whether or not the President was joking. One thing that is for sure, Anderson, is that more and more Republicans are coming out to say that they’re concerned about this. Rob Portman, the Ohio Senator, from Republican Party, came out today and said that he didn’t think it was appropriate for the President to make that kind of request of the Ukrainians during his phone call. But he said it doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment at this point. Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah. I mean, all the subpoenas coming from the House investigation…there’s the White House, the Pentagon, Rudy Giuliani. Any reason to believe they’re going to comply?
ACOSTA: Well, I think at this point, it…it does remain to be seen. I will tell you, Anderson, one of the things that we’ve been looking for over the last few days is whether or not the White House was going to carry…carry out this threat to fire off a letter to the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, saying, you need to have a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry before we cooperate and hand over information. We were expecting that letter to come on Friday, and then it was Monday. I’m told by a source close to the situation that it should come tomorrow. But there’s no ironclad guarantee at this point that we’re going to see that letter. Having said all of that, you know, one of the things you’re going to be hearing, I think, moving forward, Anderson, we heard this from the President last week. I think you’ll hear it from his defenders this week is that they’ve been…they were very cooperative during the Russia investigation. They’ll be cooperative here on out as far as this inquiry is concerned. But, Anderson, that flies in the face of the facts. And as you and I both know, the White House has been dragging its feet and…and did drag its feet during the Russia investigation, never offered the President up to the Mueller team to…for an in-person interview. They had to settle for written answers to questions from the Special Counsel’s investigators. And there’s no reason to believe that this current team that’s around the President, advising him on impeachment, will act otherwise… Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Whatever the President says about all this tonight, something else spoke volumes over the weekend. The White House put nobody on the Sunday news shows, no one. We, on the other hand, have three CNN political analysts: David Gergen, who’s worked for Democratic and Republican administrations; USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, and investigative reporter and author Carl Bernstein. Kirsten, you heard Jim describe the…the atmosphere at the White House tonight. The President says he’s not worried though he obviously fumed all weekend on Twitter. Do you see any coherent strategy coming together here?
KIRSTEN POWERS: Well, no, I wouldn’t call it a coherent strategy. I think that…but I do think the President tends to operate very well in chaos, and so he creates a lot of chaos. And I think that he, maybe, on some level believes and…and Mick Mulvaney said as much…that they believe that somehow that is going to come…you know, redound to the advantage of the President because it’s going to be bad for the Democrats to be impeaching Donald Trump.
COOPER: David, I mean, do you think that’s true? I mean, is Mulvaney right?
DAVID GERGEN: No, I don’t think so. Listen, I…the administration is basically is throwing up one argument after another to see what sticks, what works. They’re not searching for the truth. They’re not trying to conduct an investigation; which most White Houses would do. Rather, they’re just looking for an argument that somehow they can convince enough people to keep the President’s base together. And that’s why I think the rest of the country is looking at this and saying, well, that’s just nonsense. I do think one other thing, Anderson. In terms of people coming out who are heavyweights, you know, it was important that Colin Powell came out and told Republicans they need to get a grip, his party. They need to get a grip on all of this. And then the…the, the Peter Baker story in The New York Times today where he went back and interviewed ten past Chiefs of Staff for Presidents stretching back to Reagan. Every single one said they would never have ever done anything like this. They rejected these kind of calls when they occasionally came up, and they would all…they all saw it as wrong.
COOPER: Carl, I mean, now that the…the second whistleblower has apparently come forward, who, I mean, according to reporting, has direct knowledge of some of the things that the first whistleblower only had secondhand knowledge of, do you see that changing anything?
CARL BERNSTEIN: Well, I think it’s going to be both dramatic, and he is going to have apparently firsthand knowledge of what transpired here. I think that what all of this becomes more and more is considerable evidence building that we have a fundamentally corrupt President who is a danger to the national security, has undermined our democratic system, and is also increasingly unstable. And I…I know that many Republicans are looking at this and are aware of a good part of that equation; if not all of that. Whether they will ever say it aloud is something else. And I think there are people in the White House who recognize that there are Republicans who are aware of all of the things that I just said on an evidentiary level. And that’s where we’re heading in a kind of really unprecedented crisis when you put all those elements together. And remember that the President’s closest national security advisers; Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, others, Tillerson, all left saying to others that the President of the United States is a threat to our own national security, and we’re seeing it, including what we saw with Turkey today.
COOPER: Kirsten, the thing that interests me about the, you know, the…the Rubio, Jim Jordan, Blunt, you know, line about this being a joke, that the President wasn’t serious about asking China, and that this was kind of tweaking reporters; A, it’s just…there’s no evidence whatsoever that this was a joke in any form. And, in fact, this President does not tell jokes or is not a person who has a…much of a sense of humor or even smiles that much. But even if it was a joke, the joke is predicated on the notion that it would be so wrong and absurd for the President of the United States to ask China to investigate the Bidens that it couldn’t possibly be real. It has to be a joke. But, I mean, all the evidence points to it being real, and therefore, by their own logic, they think that is wrong and inappropriate.
POWERS: Well, we know that they think it’s wrong and inappropriate because when the accusations was…was made about Russia and any kind of, you know, operating with another country that was just completely out of the question, and it would never happen. So, they…they definitely keep sort of changing the rules of the game. And I think that they…they don’t know what to do because I think they do recognize that this is wrong. I mean, there’s no question that they know that this is wrong. And so, they have to come up with some answer, and the best they can do is that he’s joking even though…I don’t, I mean, it…what about…it doesn’t…like you said, it doesn’t make any sense in the sense that he’s not known really as being a jokester. It’s not really funny.
POWERS: I mean, there’s that. And then also doesn’t the President of the United States have anything better to do than being…trying to like, you know, tweak the…the media? So, the…the whole…the whole argument isn’t really believable, but I think that they’re…they feel like they’re caught between a rock and a hard place…
POWERS: …because they can’t defend it, and they can’t…they can’t criticize it.